Total mail volume handled by the United States Postal Service (USPS) continues to decrease. Since handling more than 213 billion units in 2006, the numbers have dropped precipitously; in 2014 the USPS handled just 155 billion units. Those numbers are expected to continue their decline.
Due to loss of revenue, the USPS has implemented reforms in an effort to combat changes. These include consolidating as many as 82 mail processing facilities, raise rates, and, perhaps most importantly, single-piece, First-Class mail is expected to be delivered in two to three days, rather than one to two days – and overnight delivery may be eliminated for a considerable portion of First-Class mail.
The USPS changes are having an impact on the receivables industry, including delays in the delivery of time-sensitive material. As a result, it is important for all receivables organizations to update their workflows to allow additional time for mail to be delivered, particularly for time-sensitive documents such as post-dated check reminders.
You also can implement the following strategies to overcome these reforms:
1. Multi-Channel Communications –To be more effective, organizations must offer multiple communication channels, allowing consumers to choose their preferred medium, such as email, IVR, text messaging and electronic signature. Not only does this decrease your reliance on the USPS but it also reduces costs and boosts consumer convenience.
- Email – With the rise of mobile devices, email is accessible anytime and anywhere. Email enables consumers to choose when to engage with your organizations.
- Mobile Bill Payment – Mobile EBPP has quickly become a must-have service to meet competition and demand. Approximately 65 million U.S. online households now have a smartphone, and 40 percent of smartphone owners pay at least one bill from their phone.
- Multiple Payment Options – Consumers expect flexibility, including:
- A wide range of payment types, including credit cards, debit cards, and ACH.
- Flexible payment terms such as payment plans, online negotiation, and scheduled payments.
- Multiple access points for payment, including online, IVR, text payments, and in person.
- 24/7/365 access to account information and payment portals.
- Opt-in email and text notices that alert consumers when payment is due.
- Electronic Signature – Complete required paperwork quickly with electronic signatures. The consumer opens the document online to review the content, completes form fields and electronically signs before easily returning to you.
- Expedited Delivery - Using overnight delivery services not only increases the speed of delivery but also creates a sense of urgency and increases open rates. This option could be appropriate for some high value documents.
2. Address Cleansing - A correct address increases delivery speed. Tools to ensure address cleanliness include:
- CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) takes address information, checks the validity and deliverability of the physical mailing address, and then puts it in a standard format that allows for automated postage rates.
- Address Element Correction (AEC) is a service that corrects and standardizes address elements. AEC corrects address element deficiencies such as misspellings, nonstandard abbreviations, incorrectly joined elements, improperly ordered elements, address lines containing data other than the actual address, and missing elements.
- NCOA Link is a secure dataset of approximately 160 million permanent change-of-address (COA) records for individuals, families and businesses who have filed a change-of-address with the USPS.
- Address Change Service (ACS) is the USPS service that provides for the electronic return of address updates and return mail notification post mailing.
- Return Mail Services identifies return mail before the document is created, so it can be suppressed and noted at the account level.
3. Data Scrubbing - Data scrubbing is the process of amending or removing data in a database that is incorrect, incomplete, improperly formatted, or duplicated. Data scrubbing helps you:
- Identify bankrupt or deceased consumers.
- Detect duplicate files or records based on a user-defined field within a user-defined number of days.
- Implement letter householding, which allows you to mail up to four letters in a single envelope when an exact address match is found in a single file.
To learn more about strategies for overcoming USPS reform, watch a recent Webinar hosted by RevSpring on the topic.